House (Hausu) – Eureka Video (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1977
Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi
Writers: Chiho Katsura, Chigumi Ôbayashi
Cast: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba, Ai Matsubara, Mieko Satô, Eriko Tanaka, Masayo Miyako, Kiyohiko Ozaki
Release Date: February 12th, 2018
Approximate running time: 87 Minutes 37 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 / 1.55:1 Aspect Ratio’s / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono Japanese
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £14.99 (UK)
“Distressed by her widowed father’s plans to remarry, Angel sets off with six of her schoolgirl friends in tow for a summer getaway in her aunt’s isolated mansion. But all is not well – in this house of dormant secrets, long-held emotional traumas have terrifyingly physical embodiment’s and the girls will have to use all their individual talents if any are to survive.” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
House (Hausu) comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 39.4 GB
Feature: 23.9 GB
House (Hausu) had been previously released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection, and the transfer used for this release appears to use the same source. Colors are nicely saturated, details look sharp, and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Japanese, and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. There are no issues with distortion or background noise; the dialog is always clear, and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (1 minute 35 seconds, LPCM mono Japanese with removable English subtitles), a video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns (26 minutes 28 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), archival interviews: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Beginnings (17 minutes 4 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Pitch (7 minutes 33 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Chigumi & Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Script (15 minutes 25 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Pre-Release (15 minutes 39 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Shogo Tomiyama – Publicity (3 minutes 34 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Casting & Production (20 minutes4 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), Kumiko Oba – Fantasy (2 minutes 14 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles) and Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Release & Legacy (7 minutes 31 seconds, LPCM stereo Japanese with removable English subtitles), and a forty-four-page booklet with cast & crew credits, an essay titled Unhinged Desire (At Home with Ôbayashi) written by Paul Roquet and information about the transfer titled Notes on Viewing.
From its opening moments, it becomes immediately clear that what is about to unfold is unlike anything that has come before or since. The premise is clearly rooted in the realm of fairy tales. with two potential influences on this film being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Hansel and Gretel.
The premise is well executed, and nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to the bizarre set pieces. And, while there are plenty of bizarre moments in House (Hausu), there is a simplicity to the story at hand that makes the events that unfold all the easier to digest.
Without a doubt, its most overlooked asset is its ability to retain a childlike innocence, which far too many fairy tale-themed films lack. And reportedly, it was the director’s seven-year-old daughter who came up with the premise for House (Hausu).
The names of the seven girls represent their personalities, Gorgeous, Kung Fu, Fantasy, Professor, Mac, Melody and Sweet. And though, there is a lack of depth due to these stereotype characters. There are a few performances that leave a strong lasting impression. Most notably, Yôko Minamida (Voice Without a Shadow) in the role of Auntie Karei Hausu, a spin stress aunt who has not left her family home, since her beloveded went away too war. Another performance of note is Kimiko Ikegami (Winter’s Flower, The Geisha), who portrays three characters Oshare, Gorgeous and Mother.
From a production standpoint, the score perfectly captures the mood, and there is a wide variety of visual techniques that are very effectively used throughout House (Hausu). And though the special effects have not aged well, the inventiveness of each girl's death more than makes up for this shortcoming. Ultimately, House (Hausu) is an extraordinary film that's overflowing with imagination.
House (Hausu) gets a solid release from Eureka Video that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extras, highly recommended.
Written by Michael Den Boer